Monday, December 10, 2012
Days of Blood & Starlight by Laini Taylor
Amazing. Loved it. I want more. Right now. So freaking good. I admit I did a little skipping around to find out what happened. It was one of those books that has multiple stories going on in alternating chapters and sometimes I JUST WANTED TO KNOW WHAT HAPPENED AND COULDN'T WAIT. So I was forced to skip ahead. I had no choice. Oh it was good.
It has been a while since I read Daughter of Smoke & Bone, and realized as I started reading this one I'd forgotten a lot of stuff. Important stuff. Like how things were left between Karou and Akiva, and how Brimstone died. You know, things like that. It mostly came back as I read, but I think I'd like to read the first one again. I'm sure I'm still forgetting things. So if it's been a while since you've read Daughter of Smoke & Bone, you might want to give yourself a refresher. Laini Taylor does not waste time rehashing what happened last time. We are moving forward full steam ahead.
Karou is such a complex character. At times I can completely understand why she does what she does, and at other times I just want to scream at her, "Stop being a stubborn twit! You know this isn't right!" It was wonderful to see her evolve over the course of the book and find her own strength again. She is so wracked with guilt at the beginning. Her people are practically gone and she feels it's all her fault. She feels owes them, even though they all hate her for being a traitor. She is afraid of them, especially of the Wolf, the war leader of the chimaera.
Akiva continues to be wracked with guilt as well. He is still in love with Karou, and for a while thinks she's dead and blames himself for letting her go off alone. He returns to the war, which mostly involves killing chimaera peasants, despite the fact they are no threat. Akiva does his best to warn the chimaera so they will not cross paths with the army. Akiva still desperately want to do something that will change things, but doesn't really have to the strength to do it on his own.
Akiva and Karou have an incredibly complex relationship. Akiva still loves Karou, but is convinced she will never, ever be able to forgive him and doesn't believe he deserves her forgiveness. This does not stop him from loving her and hoping though. Karou is even more conflicted. She still has feelings for Akiva, but they are mixed with anger and horror and disgust. There is also disgust at herself that she still feels for someone who killed her people. She cannot forgive him.
The world is so fascinating. We have our classical ideas of angels and demons, but that all gets turned on its head here. The angles are beautiful, but that does not mean they are pure and good. And not all of them can even be considered beautiful. The chimaera can be monstrous, and some behave monstrously too, but some are good and kind. It is not a battle of dark versus light. It is a battle between corrupt leaders who are only interested in power and control. They have caused their people to suffer a war for hundreds of years because of their desires, and the consequence is that innocent people, on both sides, die.
Also, I just totally love Karou's friends, Zuzana and Mik. They are delightful.
At the end of the book there have been some very dramatic changes, and the age-old war between chimaera and angels might be put on hold. I cannot wait to see what happens, and what the relationship between Akiva and Karou will become. Seriously. I can't wait. I need it. Right now.